GIHE: Tracks Of 2020

It feels strange to be celebrating anything in 2020, but the GIHE team want to shine a light on some of the brilliant music that’s been released against the odds during the last 12 months. If you or your band managed to release some music this year – congratulations! You should be super proud. If you didn’t manage to write anything new this year though, we fully understand and we’ll still be here to sing your praises when you feel ready to write again.

Following our album round-up yesterday, today we share our ‘top tracks’ of 2020. As you can tell, we haven’t held back, as there’s just been so much amazing music released this year that we felt deserved a mention. So, read about our forty two favourite songs of the year (told you we weren’t holding back!), and then hit play on our mammoth, and super eclectic, playlist at the end of this post….

HAWXX – ‘Deadlands’
Having previously blown us away with their immense live show, heavy rockers HAWXX this year released their epic four track debut Deadlands. And the immense title track has been on heavy rotation around my ears since first hearing it back in May. With an explosive frenzied energy propelling raging hooks and the seething vocals of front woman Anna Papadimitriou, it’s an utterly compelling whirlwind; a fantastically fierce accompaniment to the chaos of 2020.
(Mari Lane: Co-Founder/Managing Editor) 

Vulpynes – ‘Sister’
Having been majorly disappointed when we had to cancel our April gig at The Finsbury that Dublin duo Vulpynes were set to headline, it came as some consolation that they released a perfectly riotous EP Us Against Them later in the year. Taken from the EP, ‘Sister’ is a powerful ode to ‘pseudo sisterhood’. Propelled by Molly’s raw, impassioned vocals, it oozes an immense sense of urgency amid a seething eerie underlying force. With swirling, reverb-strewn hooks and pounding primal beats, it’s a fantastically fierce, empowered slice of ferocious rock magnificence.
(ML)

Guitar Gabby/The Txlips – ‘The Dead Pool’
With a mission to change the narrative in which the music industry showcases women, Atlanta based Guitar Gabby and The Txlips partner with Girls Rock Camps internationally and nationally to bring classes about home recording, equipment set up, copyright law and more to young girls. Taken from their explosive album Prison Of Life, ‘The Dead Pool’ is filled with scuzzed out riffs as Gabriella Logan’s seething growl soars. Oozing a gritty emotion, it’s a ferocious, empowering anthem; a completely necessary angst-driven offering for these strange times.
(ML)

Problem Patterns – ‘Sell By Date’
Taken from The Fight Is Not Over – a collaborative record with songs from Strange New Places, Gender Chores and Sister Ghost, in addition to Problem Patterns – ‘Sell By Date’ is a perfectly raging anthem rallying against societal gender norms and the pressures and expectations put on women of a certain age to have children (something I relate to HARD). Propelled by an empowering seething energy, it’s a frenzied fist-clencher that leaves me longing to witness it in all its live glory. The Fight Is Not Over addresses the need to continue pushing for more inclusive and diverse spaces and was recorded by Rocky O’Reilly to raise money for  The 343, an Artist-Focused, Feminist-led, Queer Arts Space in East Belfast. Read our interview with the four bands and find out more about the project here.
(ML)

New Pagans – ‘Yellow Room’
I love it when my feminist literature and new music worlds collide! Inspired by the semi-autobiographical short-story The Yellow Wallpaper by American author Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Belfast-based New Pagans’ penned ‘Yellow Room’ to highlight the need for a specialised parent-and-baby mental health unit in Northern Ireland. Through the medium of Gilmans’ text, the band explore the isolation faced by new mothers, with Lyndsey McDougall’s urgent vocals leading the way. I loved listening to the band’s EP Glacial Erratic earlier this year too and I can’t wait to hear more from them in 2021.
(Kate Crudgington: Co-Founder/Features Editor)

LIINES – ‘Sorry’
Having received acclaim from the likes of Sleaford Mods, John Kennedy and BBC 6Music’s Steve Lamacq, as well as blowing us away headlining for us at The Finsbury, Manchester trio LIINES consistently impress with their distinctive, raw post-punk. Oozing the band’s trademark dark, brooding power, ‘Sorry’ builds with deep, intense bass lines, the gritty, commanding growl of vocalist Zoe McVeigh and Leila O’Sullivan’s consistent pummelling beats. Propelled by a thrashing sense of urgency, it’ll captivate the ears with its punk-fuelled bewitching allure.
‘Sorry’ is out now (with B side ‘On and On’) via Reckless Yes.
(ML)

Tiger Mimic – ‘Where The Fire Used To Be’
Disappointed that we had to cancel what would have been their debut gig for us in April, we were glad to hear Tiger Mimic’s new releases this year. Propelled by a driving energy, ‘Where The Fire Used To Be’ blasts out racing riffs alongside the soaring splendour of front woman Jess’ striking vocals. Building to an immense climax, it offers a sense of hope in these seemingly hopeless times, reassuring us that “the whole world will start over in the spring”.
(ML)

Bitch Hunt – ‘Spaceman’
Since forming at First Timers Fest, London based all queer/non-binary band Bitch Hunt have been going from strength to strength; last October impressing us at GIHE us with their immense live set at The Finsbury. Taken from a split cassette that they released with fellow faves adults earlier this year, ‘Spaceman’ is an observational and relatable slice of punk-pop. With Bitch Hunt’s trademark impassioned energy and swirling harmonies, it’s a spot-on reflection on the sickening arrogance of all those cis male ‘splainers and ‘spreaders we so often have to endure in our day to day lives.
(ML)

Porridge Radio – ‘7 Seconds’
In a year where so much went wrong, watching the unstoppable rise of Porridge Radio felt so right. With ‘7 Seconds’ the band moved away from the guitar-heavy sound of their Mercury-nominated album, Every Bad, towards alternative ’80s synths. The result is reassuringly nostalgic, like it’s jumped from the soundtrack of a badass John Hughes film; melancholic, but still upbeat and unbelievably catchy.I’m in love with front-person and songwriter Dana Margolin’s voice. Bold and strong, but vulnerable too, they sing of wasting, waiting and rising above it all. Against the backdrop of a rather tedious few months, ‘7 Seconds’ feels hopeful and exciting. When it comes on the radio, as it frequently has, I feel a little jolt of electricity run through my veins. And it’s a jolt that’s wired straight to my heart, mind… and my feet. The song – and the band – are something very special, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
(Vic Conway: Contributor)

CMAT – ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’
“Always the cowboy, never the cow / I hate the way my life turned out” might just be the lyric of 2020, provided by Irish pop sensation CMAT. “[The song is] based around a VINE that was really popular from a couple of years ago of a load of guys drinking cans outside in a playground saying “I wanna be a cowboy baby!,” CMAT explained when we spoke to her about the single in September. The popstar has a talent for taking obscure scenarios and molding them into intensely relatable, catchy pop tunes and ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’ is a charming slice of  Americana-tinged pop that laments the struggles of urban isolation.
(KC)

Kynsy – ‘Cold Blue Light’
Based on her own experience of being at a New Years Eve party watching a man spout racist remarks, Dublin-based multi-instrumentalist Kynsy’s single ‘Cold Blue Light’ is a dark synth-pop gem that oozes with defiant attitude. I love her genre-blending sounds and I’m excited to hear more from her in 2021.
(KC)

Jessica Winter – ‘Sad Music’
This is the title track from Queen of sad bangers Jessica Winter’s debut EP, and it’s an electro-pop gem. Inspired by the need to relieve heartbreak through the medium of music, Winter effortlessly blends elements of electronica, pop, R&B and industrial music to create her intensely dance-able sounds. I pranced around my bedroom miming to ‘Sad Music’ for most of Lockdown 1.0.
(KC)

Husk – ‘Heal With Time’
One of our favourite discoveries of 2020, Manchester-based trans non-binary artist HUSK creates uptempo pop gems. Released in the summer, ‘Heal With Time’ oozes a celebratory sound juxtaposed with a poignant, reflective lyricism. Propelled by ’80s-inspired glistening hooks and synth-soaked uplifting summer vibes, it’s a vibrant, danceable anthem, shimmering with a sparkling empowering energy.
(ML)

Kadija Kamara – ‘Best Moves’
Even in uncertain times, London-based songwriter Kadija Kamara remains focused on her ‘Best Moves’. On this single, she calmly reminds listeners to own their “magic” and recognise the value of their own work, reassuring them with her warm beats, grooving bass lines and smooth vocals. With a sound best described as “alt-soul” which combines her love of ’60s and ’70s analogue sounds, Kadija’s passion for nostalgia permeates her musical output.
(KC)

Evil House Party – ‘Wicked’
An intoxicating blend of hazy vocals and sultry synths, Evil House Party’s debut single smoulders with the intensity of a hot summer night fuelled by Bonnie & Clyde-esque musings. ‘Wicked’ is a “bittersweet revenge pop anthem” that seduces listeners with its yearning vocals and heady beats.
(KC)

CIRCE – ‘Ten Girls’
London based dark-pop artist Circe is inspired by the films of David Lynch, the brutality of Margaret Atwood’s fiction, the soundtrack to Stranger Things and Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo & JulietThis single ‘Ten Girls’  takes its title from a quote from The Handmaid’s Tale. Of the track, Circe explains: “[Atwood’s novel] is a poetic but disturbing view of women living in a dystopian oppressive world. This chimes with my own fractured generation of cancel culture, swipes of sex, and revenge porn.” I’m obsessed with Circe’s debut EP She’s Made Of Saints, which is full of sweeping, cinematic gems.
(KC)

Notelle – ‘Bugs’
I love the industrial-tinged production and wispy vocals on Nashville-based “nightmare-pop” artist Notelle’s single ‘Bugs’. She wrote this song after a break-up when she felt like part of her ex was still invading her body and it’s an intoxicating, feverish effort to rid herself of this unwanted sensation.|
(KC)

Noga Erez – ‘You So Done’
A resilient, emotionally charged offering from an uncompromising artist, Noga Erez’s single ‘You So Done’ delves deep into the memories left behind by a toxic relationship. Far removed from the joviality of her lockdown inspired single ‘NO News On TV’, Erez channelled her fears, frustrations and un-nerving flashbacks into this track, which radiates with artistic confidence. Accompanied by a stunning set of visuals directed by Indy Hait, also featuring her musical partner Ori Rousso, the Tel Aviv-based artist continues to blow us away with her mesmerising musical accomplishments.
(KC)

Eilis Frawley – ‘Stats’
Taken from her incredible EP Adult Life, Eilis Frawley’s ‘Stats’ is one of the most stunning and necessary listens of 2020. Offering a completely unique soundscape from the classically trained percussionist, it combines arresting drum-beats with Krautrock-infused spoken word, as the lyrics see Frawley recite hard-hitting stats, highlighting the everyday injustices facing women today. Tackling issues such as period poverty, FGM, domestic violence and other vital issues, it’s a beautifully striking and necessary listen. A poignant protest song that you can dance to. Adult Life is out now via Reckless Yes.  
(ML)

Princess Nokia – ‘Sugar Honey Iced Tea (S.H.I.T)’
Openly queer rapper and all round inspiration, Destiny Nicole Frasqueri – aka Princess Nokia – writes powerful, feminist anthems promoting self love and raging against the patriarchy. Fusing together infectious beats and a powerful, angst-driven energy, along with her trademark tongue-in-cheek wit, with ‘S.H.I.T’ Princess Nokia once again offers an empowering and playful presence in these times when pushing for change is so important.
(ML)

Æ Mak feat. Seba Safe – ‘i dance in the kitchen’
Joyfully schooling listeners how to make uplifting kitsch-pop tunes under the strangest of circumstances, Irish artist Æ MAK’s single ‘i dance in the kitchen’ was made with “100% childsplay and solo belly laughs.” Featuring the vocals of fellow Irish artist Seba Safe, the track is lifted from her EP how to: make a kitsch pop song to show the world, which she produced from home during Lockdown 1.0. I loved bopping around my bedroom to this record and of course, dancing in the kitchen to it too.
(KC)

Lido Pimienta – ‘Eso Que Tu Haces’
No-one else makes electronic music sound as warm and meaningful as Colombian-born, Toronto-based artist Lido Pimienta does. This track ‘Eso Que Tu Haces’ (translated roughly as ‘That Thing You Do’) is one of many triumphant singles lifted from Pimienta’s Grammy-nominated album Miss Colombia, which is a vivid celebration and criticism of her Colombian heritage. I have spent many an hour marvelling at the artwork on this record and singing along to my baby pink vinyl, despite knowing only three words in Spanish.
(KC)

Eckoes – ‘The Light’
Having dazzled us playing live at The Finsbury a few years back, London-based Eckoes consistently creates beautiful, soothing soundscapes. Filled with strobing synths and shimmering guitars, ‘The Light’ showcases the truly spellbinding power of Eckoes’ soaring vocals, as it lulls the listener into a cathartic sense of hypnosis with its alluring grace. A truly captivating offering from an artist on the rise.
(ML) 

Serena Isioma – ‘King’
Chicago-based musician Serena Isioma’s single ‘King’ is full of seductive beats and brooding bass lines. It’s a shimmering reflection on the problematic friendships 20-year old Isioma has found themselves in. “’King’ is about remembering your worth,” the songwriter explains. Isioma’s latest EP The Leo Sun Sets is every bit as poignant and dreamy as this single.
(KC)

Despicable Zee – ‘We Won’t Stop’ (Tiiva Remix)
A captivating, left-field electronic exploration of dual heritage, motherhood and self-autonomy, Oxford-based drummer and producer Despicable Zee (aka Zahra Haji Fath Ali Tehrani) released her third EP Atigheh in 2019. This year, with the help of an eclectic mix of collaborators, Zee shared a remix of the recording titled Atigheh Reimagined, which opened with this track by Tiiva. Keeping the hypnotic qualities of the original, Tiiva’s treatment of  ‘We Won’t Stop’ fuses smooth, breathy vocals together with dense yet ambient beats. I can’t recommend listening to this EP enough, it also features collaborations with Tiece, Planningtorock and Young Knives.
(KC)

MJ Guider – ‘FM Secure’
Lifted from her album Sour Cherry Bell, MJ Guider’s shadowy single ‘FM Secure’ is permeated by murky industrial sounds and atmospheric, beguiling vocals. Based in New Orleans, MJ Guider (aka Melissa Guion) blends elements of shoegaze, gothic pop and industrial sounds to create her hypnotic music. On Sour Cherry Bell, Guider explored power dynamics and the notion of “lost and found” and these musings extended to ‘FM Secure’, its ominous glow intensifying with each listen.
(KC)

Two Tribes – ‘Cruel Sensuality’
Full of commanding beats, jagged synths and soaring vocals, Two Tribes‘ single ‘Cruel Sensuality’ is a cathartic oscillation between emotional resilience and the unexpected apathy that comes with the ending of a relationship. Taken from their upcoming EP, which is set for release in 2021, the London-based trio blend vivid electronic textures with jolting rhythms to create an anthemic new sound. This is a grade A BANGER.
(KC)

Kelly Lee Owens – ‘L.I.N.E’
I could have picked any track from Kelly Lee Owens’ second album, Inner Song, having listened to it on repeat so often that it’s become like listening to one continuous ambient epic.  ‘L.I.N.E.’ stands out, as the most deeply emotional song on the album, and because it gives some exposure to Owens’ vocals, also a central feature of  ‘Luminous Spaces’, her collaboration with Jon Hopkins, and one of my favourites from last year .  It’s also a reflection of how much more electronic music I’ve listened to lately (other notable acts from the last 18 months have included Peggy Gou, Bicep, and HAAi).  It could be that I’ve missed the old days of being out and about, at venues packed with bodies, light and sound – but I also think there’s something valuable in the (often) unspoken emotion of electronic music at a time when connections between us all have been strained.  Given the domestic nature of much of recent times, and paraphrasing a Jarvis Cocker single from 2020, I’ve been listening to House Music all year long.
(John McGovern: Contributor)

Grawl!x – ‘Epicene’
Having headlined the last gig we held at The Finsbury before the world changed forever, Grawl!x creates euphoric cinematic soundscapes filled with twinkling electronic hooks and spellbinding harmonies. Characterised by Maria’s distinctive impassioned vocals and a poignant stirring emotion, each offering from the Derby-based artist is utterly captivating.
‘Epicene’ is taken from Grawl!x’s album Peeps, out now via Reckless Yes.
(ML)

Penelope Trappes – ‘Eel Drip’
A goose bump inducing electronic soundscape, ‘Eel Drip’ is the title track from London-based, Australian-born artist Penelope Trappes’ most recent EP. It’s a dark, delicate rumination on accepting the inevitability that our lives will all be touched by death at some point. Through her arpeggiated electronics and beguiling vocals, Trappes extrapolates on these themes and invites her listeners to experience the comfort and the catharsis that comes with this acceptance.
(KC)

Mentrix – ‘Walk’
Born in Iran but now based in Berlin, Mentrix (aka Samar Rad) blends her experiences of eastern and western culture along with traditional Sufi instrumentation to create her beguiling, bold soundscapes. ‘Walk’ is full of captivating vocals, atmospheric electronics and commanding percussion. It’s taken from her debut album, My Enemy, My Love, which is a powerful exploration of female resilience, independence and what happens when women are caught between two cultures, each filled with their own flaws and freedoms. It’s a stunning record and this track is a definite highlight.
(KC)

Blonde Maze – ‘Not All Flowers Bloom’
Having been a huge fan of New York artist and previous guest on our radio show Blonde Maze for a long while now, it was wonderful to hear her new releases this year. Reflecting on the realisation that even though something is beautiful, it may not last forever, ‘Not All Flowers Bloom’ is a truly euphoric slice of electro-pop. A perfect example of Blonde Maze’s knack for creating exquisite soundscapes. I could listen to everything she creates on a loop forever; it’s just so completely calming and blissfully cathartic.
(ML)

CATBEAR – ‘Girl Crush’
A dreamy electro-pop rumination about wanting a friendship to develop into something more romantic, London-based queer duo CATBEAR’s single ‘Girl Crush’ was written during Lockdown 1.0. Recorded and produced in Zoe  Konez’s home studio in Brixton, the single is a completely DIY affair, with Sarah Smith laying down her vocals in her spare room wardrobe. The pair playfully ponder the “could-have-beens and what ifs” when it comes to thinking about that certain someone. Their charming pop creations were a welcome distraction for those caught up in a crush during unusual times.
(KC)

Ellis – ‘Fall Apart’
Released in early January, Canada’s alt-indie angel Ellis released this swirling single. Dawning at a time of blissful ignorance during a quiet moment before the storm to come, Ellis couldn’t have anticipated the level of comfort ‘Fall Apart’ would bring to her listeners in 2020. With dreamy, personal moments illustrated so softly, Ellis’ peaceful scenes of whispers under sheets served as a euphoric escape that also acknowledged hardship through self-awareness. Both humility and hesitation are felt through Ellis’ symbolism of what it means to accidentally fall apart. Her delicate depictions and flustered lyrics are realities felt by so many. Hushed vocals and warm guitar tones embody the closeness and tenderness that ‘Fall Apart’ illuminates. A nostalgic essence is met with a small amount of weariness that captivates the complexity and fear of being unconditionally seen by another, even on our worst days. In an uncertain time it has served as a utopian narrative of relatability and release. Ellis’ ‘Fall Apart’ is a therapeutic moment that exists in a cloudy sky, gloomy, but kissed by the sun.
(Jill Goyeau: Contributor)

Talking Violet – ‘Indigo’
Canadian band Talking Violet’s first single in two years,  ‘Indigo’ offers an ethereal dreamscape oozing a shimmering haze and immersive shoegaze-tinged hooks. Flowing with the Cocteau Twins-esque vocals of front woman Jill Goyeau, and swooping other-worldly melodies, it’s an utter sonic delight. A truly immersive listen that’ll leave you longing for more. (Jill also happens to be an excellent writer for us at GIHE!)
(ML)

ARXX – ‘Call Me Crazy’
Following the release of last year’s EP Wrong Girl Honey, and 2018’s debut Daughters Of Daughters, total faves ARXX this year returned to our ears with ‘Call Me Crazy’. Whilst it may be a bit of a change in tone for the Brighton duo, it loses none of the emotion-strewn power we’ve come to know and love. Showcasing Hanni and Clara’s more reflective side, it offers a heartfelt offering reflecting on mental health struggles, at a time when this topic is more resonant than ever before. Whilst dealing with an affecting subject, however, ARXX manage to create a truly uplifting and instantly catchy empowering anthem.
(ML)

Emma Kupa – ‘Nawlins’
Already a big fan of her band Mammoth Penguins, I’m no less in love with Emma Kupa’s solo material. Taken from this year’s beautiful album It Will Come Easier, ‘Nawlins’ flows with lilting, folk-strewn melodies and Kupa’s distinctive raw vocals. Filled with a heartfelt lyrical storytelling and euphoric uptempo musicality, it builds with glistening hooks to a stirring slice of perfect indie-pop. It Will Come Easier is out now via Fika Recordings.
(ML)

Captain Handsome – ‘Halloween’
Taken from Captain Handsome’s debut EP I Am Not An Animal, ‘Halloween’ flows with silky-smooth vocals and a twinkling, stripped-back musicality. With its delicate lo-fi scuzz and tongue-in-cheek relatable lyricism (“It was halloween, I was 24, I had a bad time on the bathroom floor”), it’s a sensitive, yet not sentimental, effervescent offering. Captain Handsome is the solo project of Lily from Fightmilk, and her EP I Am Not An Animal was released in January via Reckless Yes.
(ML)

Finish Flag – ‘Garden’
Having first fallen in love with Finish Flag when they played for us live at The Finsbury last summer, this year their album Swimming Pools has provided a lot of comfort. Taken from the album, ‘Garden’ flows with twinkling hooks and luscious harmonies, creating a dreamy slice of lo-fi indie-pop. Another band who I’ve sought soothing catharsis in throughout 2020, I bought Finish Flag’s beautiful pink vinyl on bandcamp day a couple of months ago, and I recommend you do the same.
(ML)

Gold Baby – ‘Versaille’
Having been following Gold Baby for some time now, last year front woman Siân Alex joined forces with Sara Kleppe and Scott Hislop to form the band as we know them today. And it’s been wonderful to see them go from strength to strength. Recent single ‘Versailles’ showcases all there is to love about them. With shimmering guitars and swooning melodies flowing alongside Siân’s luscious, crystalline vocals, it oozes a stirring heartfelt emotion. A beautifully rich slice of melancholy dream-pop.
(ML)

LibraLibra – Listerine
Brighton-based LibraLibra have been firm favourites of GIHE for a couple of years, never ceasing to impress. And this year they released their phenomenal debut EP Hail Mary. Taken from the EP, ‘Listerine’ is a step away from the usual high energy riotous cacophonies of previous releases. Showcasing the incredible soaring splendour and versatility of front woman Beth Cannon’s vocals with an almost operatic force, it builds to a magnificent, immense anthem of self-realisation.
Hail Mary is available on bandcamp now.
(ML)

Beckie Margaret – ‘God’
Essex-based songwriter Beckie Margaret has a flawless voice and a talent for writing beautifully bruising lyrics, something that her single ‘God’ showcases perfectly. I’m not ashamed to say I shed a tear when I first listened to this track, which is a cinematic reflection on unreciprocated love. Margaret releases through Cool Thing Records, who are a collective of people who absolutely love the music they’re making and promoting. It’s always a good day when an email about one of their artists appears at the top of my GIHE inbox.
(KC)

Massive thanks to all the artists and bands creating wonderful tunes this year! Keep an eye out for our Ones To Watch for next year, and listen to our Tracks Of 2020 playlist now:

WATCH: Jessica Winter – ‘Sad Music’

Born from the desire to create an unusual video with hardly any budget, Jessica Winter has shared an edgy set of visuals for her single ‘Sad Music’. Lifted from her debut EP of the same name which she released via Roya earlier this year, the track is an electro-pop gem inspired by the need to relieve heartbreak through the medium of music.

Winter produces her music from her bedroom studio in Brixton, effortlessly blending various elements of electronica, pop, R&B and industrial music to create her intensely dance-able sounds. ‘Sad Music’ is a perfect example of this, and the accompanying video directed by Nan Moore catches both the light and the dark explored in her music.

Speaking about the new visuals, Winter explains: “Nan and I started it with zero budget, so we sweet talked our way into Specsavers and took a National Express down to Portsmouth beach to film the initial scenes. A year went past and we hustled, we toured together and eventually convinced someone to give us the cash to finish it off. The only reason we got into Spescavers was because I was there so often with a health condition called blepharitis, you treat it by using artificial tears. I think that reflects how as an artist, a woman putting out pop music, you always feel like there’s an element of being performative. ‘Sad Music’ is performative, it’s getting through heartbreak with a song and a dance.”

As well as her Sad Music EP, Winters has released the Chambermix edition, with stripped back versions of each song that focus on her vocals and piano. With a talent for both taking it down and cranking it up a notch, Winter has earned her Queen of sad bangers crown. Watch the video for ‘Sad Music’ below and follow Jessica Winter on bandcamp and Spotify for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: June 2020

At Get In Her Ears, we’re still sharing all the new music we can to help distract you from the day-to-day reality of lockdown life. Our June playlist is filled with some pop gems, alternative electronic sounds, and a healthy dose of indie guitar tunes too. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

 

Foxgluvv – ‘Don’t Text Back’
“Whether you’re waiting for a response to a text-argument, flirty messages or receiving news, we can all relate to that feeling in the pit of our stomachs when we’re not quite sure how somebody is going to reply” explains Foxgluvv about her latest single. She’s transformed that feeling in to another funky, bittersweet “hungover pop” tune. The single is also accompanied by a colourful video directed, filmed and edited by Foxgluvv during self-isolation. (Kate Crudgington)

Chinwe – ‘Sin’
East London’s Chinwe’s latest single showcases her rich vocals over gently rolling beat, that leave you mesmerised and wanting more. Speaking on the track, Chinwe states: “Sin is about how one mistake can lead to everything falling apart in a relationship. You both want it to work and would do anything for each another, but no matter how hard you try you still can’t make it right.” (Tash Walker)

Amaroun – ‘Rise’
The fifth in a string of new singles that Amaroun is releasing each month this year, ‘Rise’ flows with shimmering hooks and glitchy beats alongside her rich, emotion-strewn vocals. Continuing the theme of being a queer woman, which has run throughout each of the tracks she’s released this year, it oozes a stirring, effervescent power, juxtaposed with a gritty energy; a truly poignant reflection on rising up against oppression. (Mari Lane)

feeo – ‘Yeti’
“’Yeti’ is an exploration of the multiplicity of the human ‘self’ and its relationship with our concepts of ‘other'”, explains Oxford producer and songwriter feeo. Reared on a combination of Jazz, Folk, Reggae, and the 2002 Ibiza soundtrack, feeo blends elements of each to create her captviating sounds. (KC)

Fears – ‘two_’
A poignant meditation on some of her darkest hours; experimental pop artist Constance Keane – aka Fears – has transformed her struggles with self harm into a gently cathartic offering, specially commissioned for the Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts Festival. Fears’ determination and honesty in the face of adversity makes listening to ‘two_’ all the more poignant and necessary. If you’ve been affected by any of the issues explored in the song, please reach out to Mind or other mental health charities. (KC)

Jessica Winter – ‘Chasing Nightmares’
We’ve featured a Jessica Winter track on our last two monthly playlists, and I’m not going to apologise for the repetition. I’ve been playing her debut EP Sad Music on repeat since she released it in May, and this track is definitely one of my favourites. (KC)

A. A. Williams – ‘Melt’
I missed A. A. Williams performance at Southbank Centre just before we went in to lockdown, but I’ve been atoning for it by religiously listening to ‘Melt’ ever since. I was lucky enough to have a Skype chat with her about her upcoming album Forever Blue (soon to be published on GIHE) and her long-haired dachshund Geezer (who you should all immediately follow on Instagram.) (KC)

Bugeye – ‘Blue Fire’
Following their last uplifting single, ‘When The Lights Go Out’, GIHE faves Bugeye have now shared another offering from their upcoming debut album. Raging with Angela Martin’s gritty, sultry vocals and whirring electro hooks, ‘Blue Fire’ is perhaps more disco and less punk than previous releases, but maintains all the colourful pizzazz and magnificent vibrant energy that we’ve come to know and love from the band. A perfect uptempo blast of life that we all need right now. When The Lights Go Out, the debut album from Bugeye is out 10th July via Reckless Yes. (ML)

Madame So – ‘Generation Y’
Bathing in a discordant sea of scuzzy riffs, ‘Generation Y’ builds the tension with a raging sense of urgency. As her Madame So’ vocals ooze a gritty power with a blazing raw emotion, she reflects on how millenials’ youth culture is perceived by older generations, and how this cycle of judgement is snowballing into generations to come. With shades of the frenzied cacophonies of Kim Gordon’s solo material, it’s a soaring slice of immense punk-pop; an impassioned and compelling listen. (ML)

Janelle Monae & Wondaland Records – ‘Hell You Talmbout’
With lyrics consisting of the names of black Americans who have been killed by the police/state, this deeply poignant offering from Janelle Monae with the Wondaland Records collective really needs no introduction. (ML)

Emma Kupa – ‘Nothing At All’
Taken from Emma Kupa’s upcoming debut solo album, lead single ‘Nothing At All’ flows with her distinctive luscious vocals, oozing a subtle gritty raw emotion, alongside twinkling folk-strewn melodies. Filled with a reflective, heartfelt lyrical storytelling, it’s impossible not to become utterly immersed in the song’s subtle passion that shines through amongst its effervescent uptempo musicality. As it builds with shimmering harmonies, the beauty of multiple voices coming together, uniting, creates a truly heartwarming slice of stirring indie-pop. (ML)

Happy Accidents – ‘Grow’
Taken from Happy Accidents’ brand new album Sprawling, ‘Grow’ is lead by Phoebe Cross’ honey-sweet vocals alongside Rich Mandell’s swirling jangling melodies and a heartfelt, gentle emotion. Building with luscious harmonies and the reflective, relatable honesty of the lyricism, it’s perhaps a more mellow, but equally more-ish, offering than some of the band’s uptempo previous releases. (ML)

Seraphina Simone – ‘Cherry’
I don’t think I’ve heard a track of Seraphina Simone’s that I’ve not loved. This is her latest single, dismantling the American dream with her mesmerising vocals and subtle lyrics. Of the track Seraphina says: “‘Cherry’ is the voice in our heads telling us we don’t have enough, telling us to want more, buy more, be richer, be thinner, be prettier, be better than everyone else. It’s that sarky bitch who’s really mean to you and you hate her, but you also kind of want to be her best friend because she’s perfect and you’re a mess. It’s the voice fueled by consumer culture and jealousy and insecurity and myths like the American Dream. It seems harmless enough even though it fucks up the planet and makes us miserable no matter how much we have. Maybe in a weird way, Covid-19 will make us realise we don’t need so much shit to be happy.” (TW)

PELA – ‘South Of’
Electronica always has a solid place on any playlist I contribute to, and South London duo PELA’s latest single is my addition to this one. Reminiscent of early LAMB records, this track with it’s textured beats and piano keys is a new favourite of mine. All the revenue from Bandcamp sales for ‘South Of’ will be split between the Black Lives Matter UK fund and the Justice for Breonna Taylor fund. (TW)

Cafe Spice – ‘She Loves and Leaves’
Manchester based Café Spice return with their first single of 2020 ‘She Loves and Leaves’ via Snide Records. Having crafted a reputation among the country’s key folk tastemakers, the trio hailing from England, Scotland and Ireland now push the boat out into the mellow waters of indie-pop. Starting with a beautifully harmonised acapella introduction, ‘She Loves and Leaves’ is as a gentle as it is heartbreaking. (TW)

GIRLHOOD – ‘The Love I Need’
London duo Girlhood return with banging new single ‘The Love I Need’, out via Team Talk Records. The first taster from their debut album, the first song to be written and the last to be finished, the result is a gospel and blues-tinged explosion of cut and paste joy which Tessa describes as being about how “we’re rooted in our need to communicate, understand and be understood.” I have played this track consistently on repeat since first hearing it, samples mixed with Tessa’s lyrics, nods to 90s neo-soul and a song that just fills you with so much joy – exactly what we all need right now. (TW)

Nijuu – ‘Blue’
Korean DIY dream-pop artist Nijuu has released ‘Blue’ the opener to her upcoming debut EP nijuu in the sea, out independently on June 25th via State51 Conspiracy. This track has all the sounds of a deep sea dream; reverb heavy vocals, electric pianos and sparse drums make for quite the musical bath. Looking forward to hearing more of this water themed ethereal dream pop. (TW)

Nayana Iz – ‘TNT’
‘TNT’ is the latest single from Nayana Iz whose track ‘How We Do’ hit the ground with a force in 2019. Self-proclaimed born in London but made in India, Nayana Iz’s music and spirit is described as an amalgamation of those two cultures. As soon as she could start creating her own music, Nayana knew she wanted to mix the spirit of Indian language and dance (she is currently learning Hindi as well as classical Indian dance) in with the different music she had been raised on, and empower young girls (particularly from her native land) to find their own authentic voice and too express themselves. I am becoming nothing short of obsessed with this artist and cannot wait for the release of her debut EP Smoke + Fly, due on June 26th. (TW)

Sit Down – ‘Told U So’
Taken from their new EP Nice OneSit Down’s ‘Told U So’ is a perfect example of the Brighton duo’s ability to create magnificent other worlds through their unique and imaginative lyrical prowess. Based around the idea of an opening night at an ornate ballroom, the story of ‘Told U So’ is told from the perspectives of two women, who lure in rich predatory men and proceed to lock them in, trapping them in a show of revenge. As Katie Oldham’s swirling gritty vocals are accompanied by a driving, scuzz-filled energy, a magnificent raging cacophony is created. Read about the meaning behind each track on Nice One, from Katie herself, here. (ML)

Coolgirl – ‘Gaussian Blur’
Coolgirl is the solo project of Bitch Falcon’s guitarist & vocalist Lizzie Fitzpatrick. Self-described as “music and weird shit” she’s experimenting with electronics, and ‘Gaussian Blur’ is an instrumental that twists and turns in ultra cool style. (KC)

 

PLAYLIST: May 2020

At Get In Her Ears, we’re still sharing all the new music we can in order to distract you from the day-to-day reality of lockdown life. Our May playlist is filled with some electronic stunners, a couple of grunge-infused ragers, and the occasional tentative jazzy tune. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

Jessica Winter – ‘Sad Music’ 
This latest single from Jessica Winter hits your ears with its full force of pop beats, electronica and snappy synths. At a time like this, I’m loving the unifying lyrics and pulsing vibes of this track, which tells you upfront to lean into the expression music gives you, as Winter explains: “This song was born out of a particularly bad day and how music was a saviour at that time”. Jessica Winters’ debut EP will be released on 22nd May. (Tash Walker)

Beckie Margaret – ‘God’
Released via Cool Thing Records, Beckie Margaret’s latest single is a truly beautiful reflection on what it feels like to be caught in the grasp of a love that’s not reciprocated. I reviewed the track for The Line Of Best Fit, so if you want to read 200 words on how emotional she makes me, you can click here. (Kate Crudgington)

Temples Of Youth – ‘Suburbia’
The new single from GIHE faves, Temples Of Youth, ‘Suburbia’ is another truly majestic offering from the Winchester duo. An utterly dreamy soundscape oozing a twinkling emotion and mystical allure, as heaving synths are interwoven with fuzzed out hooks, whilst the beautifully rich vocals of Jo Carson soar. (Mari Lane)

Tora – ‘Call Your Name’
This is the second release from new R&B artist Tora. ‘Call Your Name’ focuses on confronting the conflicting unbalanced power dynamics that she sees in the world, a truly empowering call to arms that will get you moving whilst raging. Love it. (TW)

Allegra Krieger – ‘Rot’ 
‘Rot’ is the latest release from Brooklyn based Allegra Krieger, aptly named for a song about toxic apathy, originally inspired by the climate crisis. Kriege says it’s a tale of “someone who has assimilated into a culture of wanting and taking without reparation,” which mirrors the human arrogances exposed by the COVID-19 crisis. I love the grunge rock tone to this single. (TW)

Tired Lion – ‘Waterbed’
When I grow up, I want to be a guitar-wielding, chain-smoking Nun – just like Tired Lion’s front-woman Sophie Hopes in the accompanying video to this track. ‘Waterbed’ is a grunge-infused goodbye to the past, and a bold leap into the band’s future sound. (KC)

Diet Cig – ‘Who Are You?’
Flowing with Alex Luciano’s luscious honey-sweet vocals, infectious jangly melodies and all the twinkling energy you could ever need, ‘Who Are You?’ is a delectably catchy slice of dreamy indie-pop from Diet Cig. Juxtaposing an emotion-strewn lilting charm and subtle gritty angst, it’s a shimmering, sunny delight; perfectly uplifting isolation listening. Diet Cig’s new album, Do You Wonder About Me? is out now. (ML)

MOURN – ‘Call You Back’
An edgy, relatable exploration of the anxieties around answering the phone; MOURN’s latest single is an instantly gratifying, cathartic guitar tune. Released via Captured Tracks, the Catalan-based trio are adept at tapping into universal insecurities, providing a personal angle, and deconstructing them through indie guitar hooks and direct vocals. (KC)

Ganser – ‘Lucky’
Ganser’s music has garnered comparisons to 90s noise-makers Fugazi, Shellac, and Sonic Youth. Their jolting rhythms, confrontational vocals, and manic riffs fuse together to create defiant, jarring tunes; and new single ‘Lucky’ is a sturdy example of this. (KC)

Scrounge – ‘Etch’ 
Not a new song, but a darn good one. ‘Etch’ by Scrounge got me through one of my lowest moments during this lockdown. The infectious drums, catchy chorus and memories of seeing them live dragged me out of my cloud and reminded me of the importance of music in dealing with life’s challenges. Thank you Scrounge – I owe you. x (TW)

Alice Bag – ‘Spark’
The new single from prolific punk legend Alice Bag, ‘Spark’ is propelled by gritty hooks and a punk-fuelled frenzied energy, as the raw power of Bag’s vocals rage with a passion, asserting “Hell no, I’m not dimming my spark!” An uplifting burst of empowering strength in the face of adversity; a wonderfully vibrant and super catchy celebration of queer culture and the joy that comes with being able to express your true self. (ML)

Stef Fi – ‘Nowhere’
Lifted from her debut EP, Girlhood, Stef Fi’S single ‘Nowhere’ is a lo-fi dose of grunge-infused punk. The quiet, uncertain lyrics of the verses contrast well with the distorted riffs and defiant words in the chorus. Best known as the vocalist & guitarist of black feminist punk band Big Joanie, Stef Fi’s (aka Stephanie Phillips) debut shows “sketches of a girl” resisting hate, and trying to find hope in the harshest of realities. (KC)

Gulls – ‘Shame Shame Shame’
Propelled by thrashing beats and a driving, riotous force, ‘Shame Shame Shame’ could not have come to our ears at a better time. A spot on social commentary, rallying against fascists and the insidious alt-right, it oozes a frenzied impassioned energy that we need now more than ever, asserting that we will not tolerate intolerance. A perfect slice of angst-driven punk; a truly necessary listen right now. Gulls were also due to be playing for us tonight at The Finsbury – we really hope to be able to book in the Brighton band again in the future. (ML)

Peaness – ‘Kaizen’
Another band I was supposed to be seeing live this week, at The Lexington on Wednesday, I had been super excited about catching the sunny, jangly melodies and sparkling uptempo energy of Manchester/Chester trio Peaness. Oozing their trademark ‘Pea-positivity’, ‘Kaizen’ is the perfect antidote to these strange and scary times. If you’d like to help venues like The Lexington keep afloat while so many events are being cancelled right now, find out more about The Music Trust’s #SaveOurVenues campaign here.  (ML)

Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something – ‘Keytar’ (I Was Busy)
Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something were due to be headlining for us tonight (Fri 8th May)at The Finsbury, and – as with all the gigs we’ve had to cancel recently – we’re super gutted that it’s had to be postponed. They have wowed us with their magnificent charisma and immense psych-infused offerings live before, and it would have been such an honour to have them return, this time at the top of the bill. (ML)

CLT DRP – ‘Like Father’ (Sit Down Remix)
Having previously completely blown us away with their live set at The Finsbury, Brighton trio  CLT DRP have now returned to blast into our ears with a seething new offering. A magnificent, whirring electro-punk cacophony that addresses the complexities of family ties, ‘Like Father’ is driven by a swirling, impassioned energy, oozing a poignant breathtaking force, showcased perfectly in this immense frenetic remix by fellow Brighton faves Sit Down.(ML)

Notelle – ‘Alive’
Self-described as “nightmare pop”, Nashville-based Notelle blends hushed vocals, warped beats, and seething synth textures to create her claustrophobic sounds. Based on her own experiences of toxic relationships and gas-lighting, ‘Alive’ is Notelle’s most personal release to date. (KC)

Stainwasher – ‘Chems’
Swedish artist Stainwasher is not one to shy away from darker states of emotion. With ‘Chems’, she’s crafted another dark, alluring lullaby that broods with bittersweet anxiety. (KC)

Lorana – ‘Am I’ 
‘Am I?’ is the latest single from self-produced artist Lorana, who sings about her love for music and questions if this love is too big. Her upcoming EP, Here In Between, was written after leaving her small Belgian hometown of Alken for the big London city. In order to reflect this lyrical narrative into her sonic identity, she recorded samples both at home and in London, which are woven throughout all the songs. ‘Am I?’ is a truly touching and beautiful offering, which is a pleasure to listen to as the vocals and samples pour in and out of your ears. (TW)

GEISTE – ‘Moonchild’ 
‘Moonchild’ is the fourth single leading up to GEISTE’s debut EP, Utopia, released on 22nd May. This is a track that hits you with its fullest force. It’s such a an empowering listen, building and building with the tribal drums and feverish samples before colliding into the chorus. ‘Moonchild’ is about not feeling like you fit with people and finding your crowd of misfits, stronger and wilder people that are not defeated by life – which is certainly relatable right now. (TW)

Anna Leone – ‘Wondering’ (TW)
‘Wondering’ is the first release from Anna Leone in two years, and it was definitely worth the wait. Slow and intense, she draws you into her world with such raw emotion, that you’re left feeling as though you’ve had a personal invitation into her thoughts.

Speaking about the new track, Anna says: “I’ve been going back and forth recently trying to decide whether I should start releasing new songs. My music is very much about isolation and being disconnected, and I’ve been kind of questioning if that‘s the energy I should put out into the world right now. I think ultimately though, the songs are also about healing, and I can only hope that that’s what people take away from them. I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety for a long time and this album is sort of the culmination of all those feelings. I still can’t listen to it all the way through without crying, which is painful but also a good thing, I think. It feels cathartic.” It’s so important that we hear music like this right now, remembering it’s ok to not be ok, but more importantly that we are not alone.

Listen to, and follow, the full playlist here: